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CPS DROP CHILD MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE

Builder may still face prison sentence for HSW Act offence

It has been reported that a builder who installed a stone mantelpiece which collapsed causing the death of a six-year-old girl has been warned that he could face a prison term.

Bella Pritchard died from severe head injuries after the fireplace crushed her while she played in her family home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire in July 2012.

Christopher Elmer, aged 39, was due to stand trial at Reading crown court charged with the manslaughter of Bella Pritchard by gross negligence when on the first day of the trial (June 2) the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offered no evidence.

Iain Wicks, for the prosecution, said:

“Following a review of the expert evidence and new reports by the experts, the view was taken that the evidence was insufficient to establish that offence [manslaughter].”

Elmer was told that all sentencing options remain open after he admitted a breach of health and safety laws in connection with the work that had led to the death of Bella Pritchard.

Judge John Reddihough told Elmer that a pre-sentence report would be prepared before his sentencing at a date to be fixed adding:

“I must make it clear to you that all sentencing options remain open to the court, including a custodial sentence”

Useful Links

HSE Safety Alert: Risks to occupiers from the installation of modular, stone and artificial stone fireplace surround

 

 

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